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A one-party state for the rich

Shocked or surprised at Ed Miliband equating those struggling on benefits in the absence of jobs at decent wages with bankers and executives whose salaries resemble telephone numbers? You shouldn’t be.

Miliband’s speech on “responsibility” yesterday was only the latest in a long line of pronouncements and actions that marked the definitive end of Labour as a party dedicated to defending workers’ interests and reforming capitalism.

Even so, it was sickening to hear Miliband declaim: “To those entrepreneurs and business people who generate wealth, create jobs and deserve their top salaries, I’m not just relaxed about you getting rich, I applaud you.”

Joining in the open season on welfare claimants, Miliband couldn’t help himself and added: “We will be a party that rewards contribution, not worklessness.” People had to take work if it was on offer rather than claim benefits. And, in future, social housing should only go to those who “contribute” to society.

In over 3,000 words of his speech, he never once referred to unemployment as an issue at a time when the dole queue is heading for 10%. And, of course, he declined to use those two “C” words – class and capitalism. He did, however, find time to quote Blair on patriotism.

Worse, he invoked the wartime service of his father, Ralph, to whip up patriotic and nationalist sentiments about “community”. This is shockingly dishonest too because Ralph Miliband was regarded as a Marxist and wrote critiques of Labour and reformism in books like Parliamentary socialism. No doubt Ralph is turning in his proverbial grave this morning.

Ed Miliband is the latest in a long line of leaders of a party that made its unconditional peace with capitalism a long time ago. The die was cast as far back as the Callaghan government in the late 1970s, when the government went cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund. The attacks on wages that followed led to mass industrial action and the end of Old Labour as we knew it.

The context for parliamentary politics that enabled post-war Labour governments to create the health service and the welfare state changed in a qualitative way in this period. After prolonged class struggles, deregulated, free market globalisation emerged. This demanded flexible, cheap labour and shifting production from advanced to developing economies.

The basis for old-style reformist politics disappeared almost overnight. And out of this train crash came New Labour. The rise of Blairism was not therefore, as is often mistakenly assumed, simply a rightward move or a policy decision aimed at winning elections by capturing the “middle ground”.

More than that, it was a recognition and an acceptance that capitalism had changed and that the best that could be hoped for in future was for wealth to “trickle down” from the top to the bottom. Instead, cheap credit fuelled unsustainable consumption that globalisation called for. The rest, as we know, is history.

The Miliband speech was hailed by the miserable Fabian Society, whose research director Tim Horton said “some on the left may feel queasy about this. But they should understand its logic and cheer it.” Frank Field, the right-wing Labour MP who favours the break-up of the benefits system also hailed Miliband’s speech.

As one comment on Horton’s article, put it: “We now have a one party state, a political class which acts as an administrator of corporate excess, to facilitate resources from poor to rich.” A one-party state is a dictatorship in anyone’s language and that is what we have in a coalition of Tories, Lib Dems and Labourites. Overthrowing dictatorships, of course, is an entirely legitimate social activity.

Paul Feldman
Communications editor
14 June 2011

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Your Say

Jean says:

Who rules our. Country? Not the politians? Hence the reason for a one party state.

Dave says:

Yes, God Bless The “Wealth Creators” and I am sure She will - but as for those being immorally accoladed for beneficence by the acolytes of Capitalism (our Political parties included), the Southern Cross debacle is a window to their grim gamesmanship.

A decade or two passed since Care Homes were recognised as the fabulous 'Cash-Cows' they still are, the Private Equity snakes (Blackstone) have strangled easy profit from Southern Cross and abandoned it. With no ‘estate’ and facing ruinous rents of the order of 3 or 4 times the cost of its prior ownership-occupation, incidental to the ‘financial model' it pays minimum wage levels for staff to attend to clients being stripped of private-care fees as well as their dignity. This view into the murky depths of the contempt which corporate profiteers have for any but their own is the reality of the ‘Greed-is-Good’ school of economics - a proud and fluttering emblem to the 'up yours' sacking they dare dignify with the nomenclature Private “Equity”, a more inequitable activity yet to be found. “Jolly Roger” might be better imagery, ensign to the galleon of these commercial buccaneers and their shameless, skip-de-do shafting.

What a disgusting state of affairs our economy has been sold to, a global disease where gruel for the rest is but the spit of the rich. It is claimed that most affluent of the most miserably poor (3 billion souls) live on less than 2 dollars a day while the most effluent of the most miserably greedy are allowed to be in 'possession’ of $42.7 trillion - locked away doing no one any good. And now there are more billionaires in Moscow (79) than New York (59) – I wonder how many more than none there were in the entire Soviet Union just 20 years ago BOC (Before Organised crime).

There are none who ever 'created' great personal wealth let alone Mega-Riches, with their own 'hands'. This kind of money, no matter what the initiative is always made off the 'backs' of others (slavery, ancient or modern) - or is gifted - or stolen and in all cases involves a massive helping of some combination of privilege and luck. We are all "wealth-makers" or none of us.

While the whole world is being run for profit, a grotesque bureaucracy that supports it grinds poverty into the vulnerable - and you are never fairer game it seems than on your uppers and about to die. Ask Blackstone.

It doesn’t get more debased

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